Darknet criminals are becoming more crafty when it comes to tricking and extorting people into giving them money. Ransomware, malware, ad phishing schemes are thriving. It now appears a new darknet email spam service will stop harassing users if they pay a small Bitcoin fee. This is an interesting model, but its success remains to be seen.
Paying Criminals to Stop Spamming
Most consumers around the world have dealt with email spam campaigns before. Very few consumers know how their email addresses got into the hands of a spammer. Spam emails are a lucrative business and they are now a primary distribution method for ransomware along with other types of malware. Some criminals are trying to take things to a different level.
The All Base service, which resides on the darknet, is new project. The “company” specializes in sending out global spam email campaigns for a fee. Services such as these are not all that uncommon, as the spam-as-a-service industry is increasingly popular. All Base is also providing a secondary service, which effectively allows recipients of spam emails to have their email address “removed” from the campaign.
The All Base service is the main source of XMPP email spam on a global basis. This is remarkable considering how the darknet platform has only been around for just over three months. Criminals are attracted to this platform because it is capable of sending out more spam emails than any of its competitors. Competition in the spam-as-a-service industry is heating up.
People who use the All Base spam service can target four main types of users. This degree of customization shows there is a growing demand for this type of service. Sending out email campaigns to these groups of users will cost up to $100, which needs to be paid in Bitcoin. Considering how Monero provides more anonymity and privacy, it is surprising that operations like this still choose Bitcoin.
Now the recipient of these spam emails can unsubscribe from the list. It costs $25 – to be paid in Bitcoin – to ensure this happens. Considering how people on the spam list can receive over 100 spam messages on a single day, it may very well be worth paying this small amount of Bitcoin to no longer get harassed. This particular project tries to make a profit by catering to both senders and recipients of spam emails.
However, there is no real reason to pay the Bitcoin amount right away. Most XMPP email clients allow users to block incoming spam, as documented by BleepingComputer. This should prevent most, if not all, spam messages from getting through. If things do not improve after turning on this setting, paying the $25 worth of Bitcoin is still an available option. We see some very intriguing trends in the world of cybercrime these days.